Luminato brightens up Toronto with ‘It’s Art’

Who: Luminato Festival Toronto, with The Local Collective for strategy and creative.

What: “It’s Art,” an extensive out-of-home and print campaign promoting the annual multi-disciplinary art festival. It is The Local Collective’s first work for the brand since winning the business last year.

When & Where: The campaign launched last month, and is running through the event’s June 19 conclusion. There is a series of out-of-home components including digital billboards in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, streetcar wraps, wild postings along with print ads in titles including Hello! Canada and Toronto Life.

Why: It’s an awareness campaign designed to reignite interest in the festival, which is returning after a two-year break for Covid.

“We wanted to make sure we were injecting a lot of energy because they’ve had that hiatus for the past two years,” said The Local Collective’s founder and managing director Kaitlin Doherty.

It’s also about distinguishing Luminato from other arts festivals. “There was some confusion in the marketplace about what they stood for [and] who they were,” said Doherty. “We needed to have something that spoke in a broad sense of what art provokes in all of us, instead of just honing in on one specific type of art.”

How: The campaign is built around a series of brightly coloured ads (The Local Collective describes them as “luminous”) featuring punctuation marks. They were chosen because they can all be applied in various ways to the phrase “It’s Art,” said Doherty. For example, an exclamation mark makes it declarative, while ellipses suggests there’s something more.

“One of the most wonderful things about art is that it’s not rational and not everyone feels the exact same way about a piece of art—it really provokes feelings and conversations,” said Doherty. “Some people might think it’s the best thing ever, and some might say ‘Really, that’s art, eh?’ I think leaning into that is important. People create because they want to bring their perspective and their vision to people, but artists don’t expect everyone to have the same feeling towards their art.”

A connection to art: The Local Collective has strong ties to the art world, including turning part of its office in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood into The Local Gallery—where it showcases the work of local artists including its own creative director, Pepe Bratanov. Open Wednesday to Saturday, The Local Gallery is currently displaying work from about 20 local pop-culture artists.

BlogTO recently named Local Gallery one of the 21 best neighbourhood galleries in Toronto, and its first ever show attracted thousands of visitors. “Since day one, we’ve wanted to prove out a model that you could do things just a little bit differently… and really contribute to culture,” said Doherty. “Aligning ourselves with something like Luminato is very dear to the culture and community we have inside the agency.”

And we quote: “Luminato has never been afraid to push the boundaries of creativity and this campaign reflects the festival’s inherent ethos—showcasing the true power of art and speaking to those constantly on the lookout for new inspirations.” — Sarah Jean Harrison, CMO, Luminato

Chris Powell